Building the New Habit Muscle

“Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.”
~Spanish Proverb

It’s not BREAKING NEWS! Habits are hard to start, much less change.

Jerry Seinfeld, in a random conversation years ago with a young comic* seeking words of wisdom from the master, expanded on a tool that parents and teachers have known for eons; the Achievement Chart.

When asked for tips on becoming a better comedian, Jerry replied simply,

“The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes is to write every day.”

keep building the chainHe said to get a big wall calendar showing a whole year, hang it where you’ll see it every day, get a red marker and make an “X” on every day that the young comic sat down to write jokes.

After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.

And as the saying goes, the rest, my friend, is history. This short conversation has become what is known as the Seinfeld Calendar and has become a well-used productivity tool that anyone can use.

The system works because it creates momentum. And momentum is integral in building new habits. Start small, do a little every day and string a bunch of days together. The first three days are critical (hence the calendar layout we’re offering) since that is when resistance is strongest. By the 4th day we’re feeling proud of ourselves and before you know it, we want to see those X’s add up!

It’s called practice. I love that word. It’s not the “chore” I thought it was when I had to practice piano as a child. It’s become the seed of possibility for me that opens doors and gives me the incentive to start. Doesn’t require me to be good at it, it just insists I start, followed by practice.

I can do that. And so can you.

Download “Keep Building the Chain” Calendar here

 

* Resources: http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret , You Tube

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